From the beginning of the Monaghan Town Greenway project, we were aware of the importance of the Ulster Canal as a wildlife corridor. It presented a unique seed bank repositary, as areas along the canal had been uncultivated for almost 100 years. As the area had been largely undisturbed, some very important habitats for local wildlife had also developed.
We enlisted some environmental experts we knew were also interested in the ecology of the Ulster Canal, and asked them to advise us on how best to conserve the canal’s habitats during construction of the Greenway. We also asked them to advise how we might best use the Greenway as an awareness-raising and educational tool to promote the importance of biodiversity to the general public, and how we could protect teh environment into the future.
The group oversaw the work, and put together a Biodiversity Management Plan for the new Greenway.
The team were:
- Nial O Connor – Environmental Awareness Officer, Monaghan County Council
- Joe Shannon – Birdwatch Ireland
- Emer Brennan & Cheryl Connolly – Monaghan Tidy Towns
- Carmel Brennan – ‘Action for Biodiversity’ cross border local authority initiative
- Bernie O Flaherty – Water quality expert, Monaghan County Council
- Denis Flannery – Horticulturalist, Monaghan Town Council
- Carol Lambe – Development Officer, Monaghan County Council
Monaghan Tidy Towns is taking the lead role in rolling out biodiversity measures along the Greenway in its quest to make Monaghan a Biodiversity Town. Work started back in 2010 when Monaghan County Council provided tidy towns groups with training in how to conduct a Habitat Survey. Ever since, Monaghan Tidy Towns has adapted its work to promote the biodiversity agenda. Everything from the type of flower and tree planted, to the way grassy areas are managed, is done in a way that maximises the value of the habitat to wildlife.
This is carried on along the Greenway, which passes through many habitat types, including woodlands, wetlands, fast-flowing water, cultivated grasslands and hedgerows. In 2013, Monaghan Tidy Towns received funding under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund to commission and erect a series of information boards along the Greenway. The information is designed to give you tips for simple things you might do at home to help promote biodiversity. Each board carries a QR code, which when scanned with a smartphone, connects you through to the Tidy Towns site, monaghantownbiodiversity.com